Reviews are a vital part of a customers booking journey. In results from a Phocuswright study prepared for TripAdvisor, 53% of participants revealed that they would not commit to booking until they had read customer reviews, and 80% said that they would read between 6-12 reviews each time.
In February 2018, TripAdvisor changed the algorithm for their popularity ranking. This has been met with mixed reviews from the tourism industry, as the ranking now takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews on a business page. So, not only do you need excellent quality customer reviews, but you also require more reviews that are frequently posted throughout the year.
Tour operators regularly ask us 'How can I get more reviews?'. Here are 5 simple tips that are proven to work:
1. Ask customers during your tours
Before the end of your tour is the best time to ask customers to post online reviews. Surprisingly, it's rare that tour companies do this. Why not? The experience is fresh in your customer's mind, they might have some downtime if you are driving to their drop off point, and if they do have any comments or feedback, they speak to a team member face to face - which will hopefully avoid negative posts.
Have business cards for your tour guides with the TripAdvisor page link. The easier you make it, the more reviews you will get!
2. Get your company on relevant review platforms
TripAdvisor is the most visible platform for the tourism industry to collect reviews, but it shouldn't be the only website. Where is your customer base located, and what websites are they using? 70% of the Asian market use marketplace Klook, so if you rely on tourism from Asia, you should ensure that you are not only advertising your tours but collecting reviews on this platform.
Source: Skift Research, Company Websites
Other websites to consider collecting reviews include marketplaces, review websites, social media accounts, google business and your own website.
3. Reward your guides
Tour guides are the face of your business and really can make or break a customer's experience. They should start each tour by introducing themselves, and spend time getting to know more about their group. By the end of the trip, customers will have a good relationship with their guide and will be happy to share feedback and praise on their behalf. Your tour guides should feel comfortable to ask guests for this, especially if it mentions their name. People relate to people, and being asked by a person rather than an email will have better results.
If you require more online reviews or need a way to keep your team motivated during the busier periods, then I recommend putting together an incentive plan for your team. This could be each 5* review posted that mentions the team member by name will be rewarded with a cash incentive, prize or time-back. It could be a running competition for the highest number of reviews per month.
4. Email within 24 hours of their trip
A follow up email to ask for a customer review should be sent 0-24 hours after your tour. If you wait longer, they could already be on another tour and immersed in a new experience. They might also forget import elements they enjoyed about their trip.
When writing a follow up email, keep it personal and true to brand. You could say 'Hi Jessica, We want to share our amazing tour experience with more people. Can you help by posting a review?'. Another technique I've seen work if you'd like to collect more detailed feedback, is to ask 3-4 customer survey questions you'd like to know from your customers. When you receive a response, you can send a personalized message to say that you are delighted with the feedback and if they could post this on your preferred review website. For ease, include a link to the page where to post.
When contacted after 24 hours works:
If you have customers who have not posted a review after you asked, you can do a blitz email. This will not provide the highest response rate, but it will help if you have a reason for asking for these reviews. This could be if you have been nominated for an award or have launched a new tour.
5. Show that appreciate feedback
Once you receive customer reviews, it is just as important that your business posts a considered response. Not only does it show the customer your appreciation for the review, but it is also important for potential new customers to get a good impression of your business. Reviews are independent and subjective, so you can't control what they will say. This is your opportunity to add your voice and explanation. Keep responses professional, reference any negative or constructive feedback, and explain what you have changed or intend to do to improve the experience for others.
When you receive great reviews, share them with others. At TrekkSoft, we include customer feedback on our website, emails, and social media. Never underestimate the value of an excellent review.
Download this free checklist with 2 steps to improve your TripAdvisor ranking and reach #1